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The Ultimate Guide to Growing New Plants from Cuttings
12th Sep 2019 | Posted by Wild Poppies

The Ultimate Guide to Growing New Plants from Cuttings

Gardening is a fun and relaxing way to add a touch of personality to your home and bring beauty into your life. However, making a succulent, herb, or flower garden can be overwhelming and challenging if you don't know where or how to start.

Fortunately, there is an easy and inexpensive way to create a beautiful garden. Simply start by growing plants from cuttings! You can get cuttings from friends and family and grow them in your own garden. In this post, we’re sharing some tips and tricks to help you successfully grow new plants from cuttings.

How to grow new plants from cuttings

Taking cuttings from your favourite flowers, succulents, or potted plants (technically known as propagation) is one of the quickest and easiest ways to grow more plants without spending a dime. While it may be easy to do, there are a lot of elements that you need to consider to ensure successful plant propagation.

Understanding the different types of cuttings

When we speak of “propagating” plants, we usually mean taking cuttings or using pieces of stems, roots, or leaves to start growing new plants. Unlike propagating by seeds collected from the mother plant, propagating by cutting ensures that the new plants will be genetically identical to the parent plants in every way.

There are different types of cuttings (depending on the kind of stems) that you can use to grow or propagate your favourite flowers, succulents, or potted plants.

Softwood cuttings

These cuttings come from the current season’s growth. They’re usually taken from fresh, new stems of plants that have yet to become woody during spring or early summer. Plants that root well through softwood cuttings include:

  • Asters - These daisy-like perennials with starry-shaped flower heads bring radiance and beauty to any garden in late summer when many of your favourite blooms are fading.
  • Chrysanthemums - One of the most popular market flowers, chrysanthemums or mums come in a variety of colours such as white, off-white, gold, yellow, bronze, burgundy, red, pink, lavender, and purple.

Greenwood cuttings

Herbaceous or greenwood cuttings come from plants that have non-woody stems or those with young stems that are starting to mature, but still in their first year. They’re typically taken in early to midsummer. Some examples of non-woody plants that root well through greenwood cuttings include:

  • Boxwoods - These dense, evergreen shrubs with light-green leaves and rounded compact growth are often seen in elegant and formal gardens.
  • Dahlias - These gorgeous midsummer blooms bring life to your garden with its colourful flowers that resemble little roses, hostas, or even tomatoes.
  • Gardenias - Admired for its intoxicating fragrance and attractive creamy white flowers, gardenias are a worthy addition to any flower garden.

Semi-ripe / semi-hardwood cuttings

Tougher and more mature, these cuttings are usually taken from midsummer to fall. Below are some following plants that root well from semi-ripe or semi-hardwood cuttings.

  • Camellias - Known for its glossy foliage and gorgeous flowers, camellias are beloved by gardeners.
  • Azaleas - A popular springtime flowering plant, the azalea is ideal for landscaping because it is easy to grow, propagate, and transplant.
  • Honeysuckles - Known as the queen of flowering vines, these ornamental shrubs bloom during the transition from spring to summer, offering a sweet and intoxicating scent while providing dappled shade.

Hardwood cuttings

These cuttings are taken from woody stems that have gone dormant in late fall or winter. Trees and shrubs often root well from hardwood cuttings.

  • Roses - Classic and elegant, these flowering plants propagate well through hardwood or softwood cuttings. Roses that grow well through hardwood cuttings include ramblers, miniature roses, and older species of roses. On the other hand, climbers and floribundas propagate well through softwood cuttings. The only roses that don’t grow well through cuttings are grandifloras and hybrid teas.
  • Hydrangeas - Unrivalled in the scrub world for its striking flowers, the hydrangeas produce beguiling blooms in various colours, from vibrant pink and frosty white, to clear blue and lovely lavender. Just like romantic roses, hydrangeas propagate readily from hardwood cuttings taken from dormant plants in winter or softwood cuttings taken from actively growing plants in early summer.

How to successfully grow flowering plants and succulents from cuttings

Do you want to beautify your garden with flowering plants? Or are you the type who loves succulents and herbs? Regardless of what plants you want to grow in your garden, there are three essential steps that you need to follow to help you propagate new plants successfully.

  1. Carefully cut a healthy stem. To ensure successful propagation, make sure to select a healthy part of the plant for cutting. Then, make a sharp cut approximately 10 to 12 centimetres long. Be careful not to crush the stem since this will make it more difficult for the shoots to develop new roots. Additionally, make sure you have enough space for about half the plant to go in the soil and half to stick up above it.
  2. Gently remove lower leaves. Clip off the leaves on the lower half of the cutting so you can have a bare stem to insert into your potting mix. For succulents and other flowering plants, simply use a pair of scissors, pruning shears, or a sharp knife when cutting. If it’s an herb like sage or rosemary, just pinch the leaves off with your fingers.
  3. Immediately pot up your cuttings. Place your cutting into a box or container filled with 8 centimetres of moistened pure builder’s sand, perlite, or vermiculite. Your new cutting will require some water initially before roots begin to form. Hence, make sure to saturate the soil mix so that it’s completely wet. Also, make sure that your pot has a drainage hole.

How to properly care for your cuttings

Until your flowering plants, succulents, and herbs have become fully established, you need to carefully monitor the amount of moisture and light in order for your cuttings to thrive. Ensure proper care for your plant cuttings by following these tips.

  • Use a rooting hormone. To help your cuttings root more quickly, dip the end of your cuttings in a rooting hormone before placing them in each pot. Rooting hormone is a liquid or powder that contains growth hormones which can stimulate root growth on cuttings. Some rooting hormones also contain a fungicide to control or keep roots from rotting.
  • Keep fungus away. Make sure to remove dropped or dead leaves as soon as you notice them. This way you can keep fungus from spreading to your healthy plant cuttings.
  • Water the soil sparingly. Water the soil minimally until the roots start to appear. If you are growing your plant indoors, you may water it every 2-3 days.
  • Keep the moisture in. To control the humidity and moisture around the cutting and encourage its growth, wrap the pot in a clear plastic bag. Fill the plastic bag with air and inflate it to make sure that the plastic bag doesn’t touch the cutting. Use a twist tie to seal the plastic bag.
  • Place the cutting in a bright area. You can keep your cutting in a bright area, but make sure that it’s away from direct sunlight. Wait for 2-3 weeks to see if the roots are growing on the bottom of the cuttings. If they have not developed roots, make another cutting and restart the process.

Go grow your own cuttings!

Growing flowering plants, succulents, or herbs from cuttings will take a couple of weeks, but it is fairly easy to do as long as you follow the proper steps. With this ultimate guide, we hope that you’re now feeling inspired to try growing your favourite ornamentals, succulents, or herbs through plant cuttings. Enjoy!

Looking to shop for beautiful potted plants, succulents, or flowering plants? Get in touch with us at Wild Poppies, head over to our online store, or call us on 0800 809 453. Delivered in stunning vessels, our beautiful potted plants and succulents are the perfect alternatives to designer bouquets for a long-lasting gift. 

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